We have met the enemy and she is us. The report by the Chilmark police department on speeding on Middle Road is an indictment of the residents who live there — but more broadly it is an indictment of all of us. We know who we are: Islanders who pride ourselves on our laid-back rural lifestyle, who complain with righteous indignation about the horrid drivers from the mainland who bring their road rage to our bucolic shores (where did they get their license, from a cereal box???), who create bumper stickers admonishing people to slow down, you’re not off-Island anymore.
And we ourselves speed.
Because we are not really as laid-back and rural as we think. We have work commitments, children to get to school on time, ferries to catch. And then the alarm clock doesn’t go off. The dog runs into the woods chasing a rabbit. The phone rings.
And suddenly we are like Eloise — late, late, late!
And so we speed down the road. Just a little. If the posted limit is thirty-five we go forty. If it is forty-five, we go fifty.
If we are in Chilmark we have the benevolent police chief Tim Rich, who goes to his selectmen with a report and says, “What should I do? Arrest them?”
If we are in Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs, we are probably not so lucky. We get a ticket, pay a fine, get black marks on our good driving record for insurance purposes.
And then we huff and puff about the overzealous Island cops.
But who are we kidding?
We are speeding and we ought to slow down.
Just a little.